Ken Koo & red dot design concept 2012

This can easily be one of those regular ‘call for entries’, urging you to participate in the most coveted design award of ‘em all. But I’m on this swing to do things differently; so instead of a subtle reminder that February 29th is when the Early Birds registrations close, I’m going to tell you why Ken Koo, red dot design award Asia President, feels that designers need to be 20% Business-minded and think less like artists. And one more thing, if you miss the early bird be sure to register by 27th June 2012; that is the absolute last date.

I had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of the 2011 red dot design concept award presentation ceremony in Singapore, and I must tell you that it was one of the most delightful experiences ever. Young guns strutting the ramp, basking in the glory of their hard work; winning one of the most important awards of their careers! There were some crazy stunts like guys in oversized hats and groovy dance moves; overall the spirit was of celebrating good design and solid concepts.

Ken explained to me that the idea behind the Singapore event was to expand the established realm of red dot competitions – product design and communication design, into the concept arena. “The aim is to pitch concept design to the highest level, which is why there is no student or professional categories. All submissions are treated as equal without any prejudice towards young designers.”

Like he rightly mentions, “the red dot competition is based on the power of ideas and the execution.” In a neutral city like Singapore where design thrives, the judging environment is conducive towards expression.

The red dot museum in Singapore houses the current year’s concept winners, communication design winners and some of the product design winners. Ken muses that the reason why design concept has turned out to be such a big success is that people have a fascination for the things that they cannot get hold of. “You can fantasize how it works and what it can do for you, but you cannot get it.”

One of the key points that Ken emphasizes on, is that designers should stop thinking of themselves as artists, “being an industrial designer is a professional service. Like an engineer and an architect, you have to ascertain consumer needs and execute your work like a professional. Live 20% to be a businessman.”

I suppose this is the reason why he constantly persuades design schools to include business curriculum for designers.

This brings me back to the 2012 awards, you can submit your designs here, or look up the timelines here or keep a tab on the dates here. One last piece of news is this; a free version of red dot design concept yearbook 2011/12 app is now available to download on iPad app store.

Don’t Forget Early Bird ends on Feb 29th 2012; all the best for this year!